We all know the 6 Music game 'The Chain' - yep, enter Fleetwood Mac music - thank fuck Radcliffe and Maconie are nowhere to be seen Zzz Zzz Zzz. Here's our own little chain, each track relating to the next; 5 tunes worth for ya. Yes, YOU!
Starting point is Tattoo! by the ever so wonderful T-Rextasy - no, not the terrible official T-Rex/Marc Bolan cover band, but NYC's favourite all-female Indie heads.
A dinosaur name inspired band such as T-Rex must link to Hip Hop greats Jurassic 5. This Time Machine track samples the same sequence as J5's Canto De Ossanha.
Time machines/space travel go hand in hand. The aptly named Galaxie 500 take us on a journey to where they'd beam on down. 4th of July, fireworks and bbq fun.
Tenuous link, agreed. But, before becoming Wilco frontman Tweedy actually played in a band called The Bottle Rockets. SPACE THEME. Bad link, great song!
What noise does a bottle rocket make? WHOOOSH! So, so sorry. We just want you to hear good music! These Stroppies are dead cool, so, here's Cellophane Car.
As is true to the Craig David way of life, it's good to have your week planned out. We can't help you there, awake from your Jan slumber and make some plans. But, we can supply you with the soundtrack. A week of cool tunes, from 3rd to you...
Monday is from 2016 NYC, Drug Pizza do a pretty banging tune to get ye out of bed before a week of work. Are they still with Art Is Hard? Are they still even together? We don't know. We do know the idea of drugs on pizza sounds pretty good though, would get most out of bed. So, just do it. No jalapenos for me, pal.
Tuesday is reserved for a band which 'they' say is probably the best band in Korea right now, never even mind Busan! The best in Busan! Hahaha yes! Anyway, not sure about this one by Say Sue Me but I've always found this a good day to experiment. Hey, maybe catch them on tour in the UK between March and May.
Hump day (Wednesday for all the French readers) is when you start listening to the depressers. This one is from an Aussie bloke named Gorman, which is a winning name in my book, so we say go Walking To Oman's with the boy (wherever that is). This one's for the fans of the Silver Jews. BERMAN AKA GORMAN.
Thursday is dedicated to Robin - co-founder of Third Outing - who always complains, "why you choose the same song with a bit of guitar and singing". Aye, and this one by James Metz is EXTRA melt, pal! Enjoy it, it's about Maple trees, that's kind of French, right? I like this tune, the slide guitar reminds me of Hawaii.
Friday and finally the working week is over. Time to rip shit up and just say Fuck It.
Saturday is when you always hear the coolest tunes. Yeah, "live session experimental San Diego Hip Hop" sounds somewhat wanky, but this Mookie experiment is one you should listen to. The way he says "finish yo breakfast" reminds me of an early Kanye, if only he was still experimenting, too!
Sunday the day of rest, come downs and non-league football! Today's hangover is sponsored by a weird bloke from Berlin called Noach Engelhard AKA One Room Hotel, who is doing the Basil Brush BOOM BOOM on Nocturnal Smile. It's a freaky song but a good one to end the week on. Now don't dare think about Monday.
"How're ye"? Starts Jason Williamson just before he flies into the Mods latest release live at a busy Barrowlands in Glasgow towards the end of last year. A moments respite as you hear a dodgy fuckin' cuckooclock and then boof, "FLIP SIDE". They're back and they've got a fresh new record label to match. Eton Alive the new record is out on the 22nd of February. Let's have it and let's hope it offers summat new, mate. Listen below and watch the new video Kebab Spider.
Answer: we don't care. Welcome to our latest feature called 3rd's FAKE news. Share it and let's get trending.
*Seriously, please follow us on social media for more great breaking news about music including rumours of a previously unheard Dylan live release from Guatemala, how the Bolsheviks invented the Bouzouki, and unconfirmed reports that The Brian Jonestown Massacre might join forces with The Dandy Warhols for their upcoming European tour following constructive peace talks. In the meantime - the words of Bush Jnr. - "now watch this drive".
Frontman of the Melbourne based Indie believers The Twerps, Marty Frawley, is going to release his first début record on Merge called Undone at 31. At 31? Mate, if it's taken that long then you probs 2 defo haven't even heard of Rock and Roll. Nevertheless, nice acoustic guitars, good lyrics and a style which has never quite gone fully out of date reign supreme. The first single is called You Want Me? I don't want you Marty, but I do have a mate called Aron who would really like your hair.
If you've ever heard of the French comedian Gad Elmaleh, then you'll already know that Bryan is in the kitchen (don't ask us why, that's simply the way it is). This French band from Paris - members of the Third Outing hall of fame with proper good tune The Hand Of Summer - have just released their second outing called 4AM, and it's full of Lo-Fi gems from the 90's with a proper French modern twist. The single Ghetto Blaster follows, with a link to the full record right here.
Yeah, feel uneasy you psychos, it's Montreal mad head Marie Davidson making minimal madness. When listening to The Psychologist, the electro side of the brain flips somersaults towards the dancefloor. It's funny, flippant, sharp and deffo my favourite dirty electro since Laserkraft 3D's Nein Mann. Get it on Trainspotting 3.
The sound FKA Andrew Smith of Brian Eno Baby's On Fire Third Outing cover fame is back with a new name and sound. Now recording under Mt. Misery, we confirm that Smith and co's new track Lonely Pines is anything but a misery. Putting Hartlepool back on the music map - start 2019 with a bang - Mt. Misery.
It's that time year again, 3rd followers! Where we usually give you the '3rd Outing Best 11' of the year. However, it's fair to say that between writing for French music magazines and doing full time jobs with real bosses and real deadlines (real boring), we've been a bit lazy on the old writing front. So, this year we celebrate the best 11 bands that we failed to write about!! Merry Christmas, and a happy new music year to thee...
Amen Dunes - let's start by going right back to the beginning of the year. We heard them, but forgot to do the write up. The San Franciscan has released some real moody cool tracks this year, Miki Dora maybe the best of the lot. Now, run!
The Blinders - wire in to the new Manchester sound. Cya Indie, now then Rock 'n' Roll. The riff on Gotta Get Through is worth writing about alone, surely this could have made the Pulp Fiction soundtrack? Tipping hats to Kiss in the video, too.
Trudy and the Romance - right, let's cross to rival cities here with some happy go lucky Liverpudlian tunes. This is post noughties Indie at it's best, and it's a bit jazzy, too. Twist It started floating about late 2017, but this year Trudy kicked on.
Sherpa The Tiger - Ukrainian Sherps portrays a 300 year language phenomenon in just half an hour with this electric EP called The Great Vowel Shift. It's more music to get yourself lost to, as opposed to memorable lines, a bit like TGVS itself.
Hobo Johnson - this is a real peach (scone). From pizza shops and living in cars to millions of views on YouTube and even a Bob Boilen Tiny Desk meh meh meh, this guy is going places - literally, like a venue near you in Europe next year. C U There.
Regis Turner - the only Frenchie on this year's list, we gotta let 'em have one. Hailing from the happening town of Metz, Turner's Un Rêve dans un Rêve is one super sexy piece of Lo-Fi Electro; dream festive snow covered streets dreams.
Declan Welsh and The Decadent West - love tunes that come across all Scottish, aye? Dec and the Decs do this marvellously. They stick to old fashioned guitar music principles, with good drop verses and bouncing choruses. This is Shiny Toys.
Iceage - did you Catch It this year, or did you miss the boat just like us? This 'Wild West' influenced Rock 'n' Roll tune is just about as good as it gets in the genre, though wonder if they're into The Brian Jonestown Massacre? I'll ask next year.
Seatbelts - one of the coolest sounding tracks of the year. They might sound familiar, remember Hooton Tennis Club? Hey Hey Tiger signals a slightly new direction with a more Stone Roses-esque guitar vibe. This is what Bez likes.
Shame - "ere m8 got any Rizla"? Oh, the sound of teenage rebellion. We like that it's all a bit "I don't care what you think of me, you're not my real Dad" kinda stuff. However, it's a good tune + you've got to love the farmer, am I right? It's Dibnah!
White Room - Brighton never let's you down, man. Unless if you're a Torie or one of those rockers that got a bloody moddy nose at the pivvy ca. 1964. This is Cannibal Song and it's proper freaky and proper addictive. Merry Christmas, eh!
Effortless, emotional, wonderful. Who are we describing? Shakey Graves; Austin's absolute Americana artist, or Pocket Full of Crumbs AKA Mark Paiz; the man from Murrieta, CA, who may just well have turned a very good Shakey tune into a great one? In truth, both...
Pocket Full Of Crumbs is an intriguing proposition. We discovered it flicking through Bandcamp and stumbling upon the album Vocal Notes, a rough draft selection of Paiz's songs. What's so special about that, you might ask? That's not worth plastering on a webpage. But it is, for one listen to a track like All Week - even in this rough format - shows the promise of a man on Shakey's level.
So we thought, let's test him and boy has he delivered (both in choosing the song we wanted him to choose/making a wonderful cover). Here were all his choices followed by a few reasons why he did so. Thank you Shakey, and thank you Pocket Full of Crumbs...
I chose to cover The Donor Blues because I felt like I was able to play around with the sound more. I really love simple songs and from what I've heard from listening to the original version, Shakey Graves only recorded with an acoustic guitar and his voice. That's usually how I record most of my songs before I even start thinking about playing around with them, so in a way this song felt like it was already along the lines of my thought process.
I'd never heard of Shakey Graves until i was given the choice. The way he sang this song was a completely different route to what I would've taken. I don't think I've ever covered anything with a folk tone so it was nice and refreshing to step out of my comfort zone. I wanted to cover it with my own twist and the way I would've gone at the song if it was me writing it. I'm pretty stoked on how it came out!
We get it; listening to Kurt Vile in 2018 so isn't cool anymore. Neither is buying records or meeting friends in a coffee shop, I mean get a life. But what is cool is this new cover from Milo's Plane's drummer Harry Sherrin - AKA Flat Rufus - who proves that Kurt could make better music if he had an ounce of imagination. Burn!
*The feelings of a distressed writer at fear of telling people what's cool or not*.
We're not going to say you should stop buying Kurt Vile's record and replace them with the Snapped Ankles' LP. Flat Rufus released his debut (great) single Palm Readers back in July and as he's a nice guy, so he agreed to cover a song for us. He went for Kurt Vile to show you that his music can actually be very good and enjoyable. Thanks very much for this Harry, the indie music circles needed it.
We gave Harry a first list which he didn't like and so he asked us to give him three more choices. So we did.
I figured I’d go for the Kurt Vile track over the others because I’ve always loved the lyrics – they sort of make you wanna smile and sob at the same time. I also loved the idea of condensing the proggy, 8-minute original into a more concise pop song.
When we came up with this idea a few months ago, we had no idea we would receive so many banging covers. Here's 8 of the best so far, with many many more to come. Cheers!
Andrew Smith the absolute baller. This is the seciest version of Baby's On Fire on the internet. FACT. I'm melting...
SARN's rendition of this Lauper classic is in fact a song in it's own right. Flipped and yet so well recognisable. Top effort.
George Harrison said The Beatles saved the world from Boredom. Aye, try listening to Obladi Oblada Obladon't even bother on repeat. Listen here instead.
The best band name on the list, but is it the best tune? Whatever the weather this got me listening to the Rev again, so cheers hippies. Aye, it's a tune this one!
Spacemen 3 come from Rugby in England - that doesn't sound very rock 'n' roll does it. If they can, YOU CAN. And Outlaw Boogie HAVE!
Finger-bang to Frank Ocean, that's what Childish Gambino recommends. I wouldn't go that far, maybe just listen to the below by Cult Choir instead.
Our friend Jackson Reed, the Lo-Fi King. The Fannies are touring extensively in the next few months, but maybe Jackson's a better shout?
A laid-back cover of a laid-back song by one of the world's most laid-back musicians. "Laaaaaaid back".
When you hear a song that sounds like another, do you love it? Lament it? Or just think whatever? Here are 4 songs which pay tribute to one of world's most iconic pop artists of the last 35 years...Lawrence Hayward.
Here's the reason why we're publishing this. See, a few month ago we asked for a phone interview with the man Lawrence Hayward himself. He recently released a new album with Go-Kart Mozart. Belting. We had so many questions we wanted to ask.
But then we thought, who the fuck reads long interviews about depressed artist who always say the same stuff?
So we had this idea instead; let's get him listen to these 4 tunes instead and then we could have a conversation. It did not happen. Yep, no one got back to us. Shame really, it could have been fun and different. But then who are we? Who the fuck are you? And who the hell is Lawrence and his management?!
Anyway, here are the 4 tracks we wanted to talk about. *Sob*
Teenage Fanclub - Belt
It would have been the first one. An obvious tribute (Belt - Felt, get it?) and a great song which has all the elements that made Felt famous. Lawrence would have said; "well, I really like Teenage Fanclub because they're the greatest band in the world", or summat' like that.
Girls - Lawrence
Another obvious tribute and again, a great song. Lawrence is darker than Belt from the Fannies and more obscure, too. Lawrence actually met Christopher Owens and they had a nice chat in a park talking about drugs and gay people. It's on YouTube somewhere. "What a great day in the park we had", he'd say.
The Feelies - It's Only Life
Ah, the Feelies, a great indie pop band! Somewhat forgotten and of course nothing without Felt. Lawrence likes The Feelies and we go on talking about that one time they met in America. Probably. Psst...it works with most songs on their third album Only Life.
Thin White Rope - Exploring The Axis
I didn't know that this band existed until I googled "Band influenced by Felt". Their name was on a list. At first, I thought it was shit. Then the dude started to sing and it matched the melody and style perfectly. Good find. But we think Lawrence would have mixed opinions on this one, " a bit too close to my own style", or something so pretentious. We'll probably use this song for the feature we'll do on Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground. LOL.
*We'd like to thank Lawrence's management for not accepting our interview. Cheers*
After King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Hypocrite in a Hippy Crypt - an anonymous one man project that started life in a dorm basement at Indiana University in 2010 - wins "worst band name in history" (alongside Okilly Dokilly, a metal band inspired by Ned Flanders from The Simpsons).
But a long list of shit band names is just about as relevant as publishing a live-feed report of any festival, and as interesting as a new Eric Clapton record (it's time to stop, Eric). What we have here is far more valuable.
Hypocrite in a Hippy Crypt has a new album out called "Vegas Of Feeling" and it's the best medicine against depression.
As usual, we gave this secret man (his name is actually Mike and he's working in a shoe shop, but doesn't want you to know) a list of three choices:
I choose this song because the melody has always really stuck out to me along with the amazing keyboard solo. I knew it would be a challenge to cover also and it proved to be tough to record.
He's the man from Halifax, Nova Scotia, who is responsible for one of the internet's most outrageous back catalogues of sunshine Rock 'n' Roll - it's Harley Alexander. Fresh from this summer's epic release Woof, Alexander has taken time out to create a very special cover for Third Outing.
But before we dive into the cover tune, there's a few things we've got to say about this guy. First of all; Woof really is a banging record. If we could we'd give this man an orchestra, a million dollars and a recording suite at his disposal - we sure he'd probably create one of the most majestic albums of all times. But with the help from Sports Day and a couple of friends, well he really hasn't done so badly at all.
As we said when we first came across Alexander back in 2015, "to write about the entire genius of Harley Alexander is not possible in one short article. The best thing to do is introduce you to the great Harley Alexander and allow you to revel in music opinion which makes sense, and the latest release which makes even more sense".
But that's enough admiration. Anyway, we gave him 3 choices:
Alexander chose to cover The Buzzcocks Boredom, so here's why he chose what he chose followed by the cover itself. It's a baller...
After reading through the lyrics to each song I ended up choosing The Buzzcocks 'Boredom'. The energy of the original is pretty hectic and cheeky, but beneath the posturing there's some pretty heartbreaking words that really resonated with me, more so than the other options. So, I found a slower tempo and changed the key to help me frame the words more honestly in my own feelings and took it from there.
*DISCLAIMER* Next time you send an email to a music site with an idea for a fishing-related article, please, just don't bother or we will actually publish it. All the best Chris. Big love, Third Outing
If you want to get children involved and in touch with nature, there’s no better way than fishing. Although children can be as temperamental as the fish biting, there are a few steps you can take to make these early trips more fun and enjoyable, if not just for the kids of for yourself as well.
Keeping it Short and Simple
If you are taking your children fishing for the very first time, or they are still new to it, then keeping the fishing trips to a half day maximum is ideal. Even this could be too long when you are showing your kids how to get started fishing. Children tend to lose their concentration after an hour so even half day might need to be broken up into chunks. If they are bored and they wish to run around and throw stones in the water, then you should let them do this before they decide to retake hold of their rod. The area where you go is also crucial and can include beaches which are great for when they are bored and wish to build a sandcastle or two, and then there are jetties and lakes. Any fishing from boats or kayaks should be left until much later because if your kid can’t run around, it will end up a real dampener.
Child-Friendly Gear and Equipment
Depending on the age of your kids will determine what type of equipment they can use. There’s no use handing them a full-sized rod and reel and expecting them to be able to cope because before you know it, it will be in the water. Many companies specialize in kid-specific fishing equipment. This can range from basic poles for the younger ones to rods and reels which are made smaller and cater for their smaller hands and strength. You should also explain the different lures and live baits etc. The last thing you want is a spinner smacking you in the back of the head. The bait you use for your kids can have an effect on them. Some might not like a work to be slid onto a hook. Frozen bait is ideal in this situation as is soft plastic options if your kids are capable of casting and using a reel. Bait which smells might be a turn off for them, so it is better to choose the safer options
The Perfect Spot
Fishermen like a challenge to catch the best fish. Unfortunately, kids don’t have this insight into what makes fishing such a great pastime. They want to catch fish almost immediately, so on the first few trips, you need to choose locations which do have plenty of easy to catch fish. Stocked pools are ideal and also tend to have the types of fish which are easier to catch such as Perch, Crappie, Panfish or Sunfish. If you have a bite before they do, you can ask your kid to help you reel the fish in. Once they feel the excitement of a kicking fish and then see you land it, they will be all the more excited to do it with their own rod.
Packing a Child-Friendly Picnic Lunch
This can be a deal breaker for kids, so you need to cater to their cravings. They do like to eat outdoors, and when by water. However, a couple of plain sandwiches just won’t do it. A heft picnic lunch which has all their favorites and maybe an odd treat they love, but they only get when fishing. Once they’ve had their fill of their favorite foods and snacks, they’ll love the idea of eating outdoors more often. After this, there is the stage when kids need to understand one of what they have caught might be their dinner. Making sure they are okay with eating a freshly caught fish is a good idea, so ask them if you should let it go or take it home for dinner.
Relaxing and Having Fun
Although you love fishing, this time is about making it fun for your kids even more than your enjoyment. You have the area set for plenty of biting fish and their favorite outdoor lunches packed, but that is only half the battle. Making a competition out of fishing can be a great way of holding their interest. If they know, they can win a game, and kids love games they will try their hardest to beat you at your own sport. It might be worth doing the things dads do all to often and cheat a little to make sure they do win more times than not.
The Band Ice Cream have been described as "terrible human beings playing terrible music." Very harsh! But if that doesn't make you want to listen to this record, we don't know what will. Full stream of Numbskull is below...
So, if you thought FIDLAR were great then just wait a bit 'til you've listened to Numbskull, the band's second outing after Classically Trained which came out last year. Here's what we wrote: The Band Ice Cream clearly are a melting-pot pop band, toying with the genres and the textures. It's a good sound which matches a very good image. Here's what we think: It's a good summer record, it gives you the kick you need when at a shitty party where nobody's having any fun. Put on the album. Here's what we love: the punk attitude with good melodies and catchy hooks to match. Here's what we suggest: getting drunk while listening to this album. Trust us. And finally here's what we think is the best track: Softboy Rock and Your Guy.
If you want to buy this album, follow this link. Numbskull is out via Urban Scandal Records.
Let's be honest here for one minute: the World Cup is boring unless you're a fan of Colombia (oh ayeeee?). To restore your faith in the greatest sport of all time, here are some clips about football; step overs, sweaty hands and beers.
Echo Pressure - 1998
Let's start with a brand new clip from our boy Echo Pressure. It's about the 1998 WC, which was great because France won. France had the best players and Lilian Thuram. And when you have Lilian Thuram, it's like having N'Golo Kanté - you can't lose, can you?
Philippe Katerine - Rouge et Noir
The funniest French singer of all time made this song to get free tickets for the semi-final of a game of his hometown team. He got the free tickets, but he did have to work a shift in a burger van!
Ant & Dec - We're On The Ball
A classic, right? Not played on the radio during drive time anymore (sorry Ant).
Fettes Brot - Fussball Ist Immer Noch Wichtig
Aye, they got knocked out early on but nothing brings a tear to the eye more than this unofficial German world cup anthem! Eins, twei, drei, fucking hell Thomas Mueller what happened you div?!!
New Order - World In Motion
Manchester, football and music: New Order. That's it. If you're at the Indie disco this week give it your best John Barnes, okay?
Del Amitri - Don't Come Home Too Soon
Love a PESSIMISTIC Scot during the world cup. Well, at least back in the day they used to qualify, now Amitri's song would be called "Don't Come Home"
The Lightning Seeds - Three Lions '98
Another classic, it's obvious, but it doesn't get old, does it? I wonder which bright spark put the word 'Kunst' on the back of the German shirt? Arty.
Trust Fund - Football
A bit of indie in this list. Though Trust Fund doesn't like Third Outing, we like his clip and here it is. We've forgotten why they hate us, can you remember? We're sorry Trust Fund, honest. Blahhhhh!
Equipe de Foot - Faking Poetry
Another French band from Bordeaux. Their name: Équipe de Foot (no need for translation here), it means 'Red Wine'.
And for the last one. Our favourites for the tournament...
It wasn't so long ago here on Third Outing that we discovered the incredible Sammy Hale. His stand-out track Hollywood Hills from debut album Post Cult gave us renewed hope - folk rock 'n' roll is still alive and well in the US of A today. But we only got to know one side of the Nashville hero, there's something else to talk about...
Sammy Hale AKA Shane Graybill also has a freaky electronic side, too. Playing under the name Cult Choir, Graybill has developed quite the prolific back-catologue of tunes that shows a different side to the folk man Sammy Hale. So much so, that Cult Choir have delivered us an absolute covers curve ball, and one of the best we've had to date.
Now, here the usual rules don't apply - because Shane is an absolute baller and informed us that he was desperate to do a Frank Ocean cover, there was only ever going to be one choice. Here's what he went for followed by the all important why (and, oh! Check out more from Cult Choir in particular last year's Haunted House Party release):
Cult Choir is where I do my electronic, weird, beat and synth stuff - so I've chosen the song "Ivy" by Frank Ocean. I only got around to listening to his sophmore album "Blonde" late last year and it immediately struck me as something very personal - without genre or any type of limitations during the songwriting and recording process. Frank has such a beautiful voice - so I know a lot of people are going to say I didn't do this song justice and I probably didn't - but I love the album so much. I rarely do covers, but have been wanting to do a Frank Ocean cover for a little while now. My friend Mike Heller of the band Smoky Willows whom I've worked with a lot in the past helped me out with some of the bass, synth and mellotron sounds - he's the best.
Back in 2015 when we first heard SARN's dreaming words "Go Tell it To A Wall", we were converted - this style is unique and John Vanderslice is unique. 3 years later he never ceases to amaze us. On the back of the fantastic new release HELLATRIPPPIN, SARN has attempted to do what no other cover star has done for Third Outing so far - to create the ultimate original cover. How does that work, you ask? Well, here's how SARN got on.
The usual rules apply - this time we gave SARN a choice of three very special covers. Here's what he chose and why, let me tell you, as far as covers go - this one is one of the most unique of all time. The selection is:
I thought I could do more with Girls Just Want To Have Fun creatively given the song is so well known and the melodies are recognizable. I knew I didn't want to do a straight cover and I knew there was no way in hell I could ever do a Sparklehorse song justice - they're one of my favorite artists ever!
Good news, if you love this cover just as much as we do then check out the very latest release from SARN called HELLATRIPPPIN. Recorded at The Tiny Telephone in Oakland, California, and released by Deathbomb Arc - SARN's unqiue spoken word delivery and cutting melodies make for one hell of an interesting record...
The Streamer, ‘Top-Down Listening’, and Musical Socialism
By Ben John
The change in music listening platforms from iPods and mp3 devices to online streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music has changed the way in which people listen to music more significantly than any other platform change since vinyl. Whilst it is well established that new technology has allowed more people access to creating music (even easier when most people pirate software anyway – I’m looking at you, Lorde) the way that streaming makes people’s listening habits more egalitarian is not often talked about.
Music streaming means that people are inclined to listen to new music in a ‘top-down’ way. This means that instead of buying an album and listening to it from start to finish, they will search for an artist and when faced with a list of otherwise equal song titles - the modern streamer will differentiate them in a way previously impossible - and that is by the play-count on the tracks. They will begin with the most popular tracks and work their way down from the top.
I know from personal experience, and from talking to other music listeners, that in many cases this ‘working down’ will last only a few songs. This normally leaves the streamer with a broad range of known artists, but only a shallow depth of intimacy with those artists. I may have 1000 artists on my Spotify, but likely only have a couple of songs for each artist (with few notable exceptions).
This is markedly distinct from the listening habits of older generations who listened in what could be described as from the ‘bottom-up’. They would buy an album, and listen to it all, finding their personal favourites by actually listening to all of the songs. They found the best tracks by surprise on their first listen. The streamer won’t stumble across their favourite track - they will let the algorithm find the most popular ones, and take their pick from that.
The digital listener demands: “Give me what you got!”, then takes the best one or two tracks from that artist to add to their ultimate playlist(s) before moving on. A good modern example might be Stormzy. How many lovers of ‘Shut Up’ would really know the name of any of his other songs?
What are the implications of this?
1 - Music listening is shallower
The first and most obvious implication is that digital listeners are potentially missing out on some great songs in the back-catalogues of each and every artist that may, and probably do contain, some potential classics that the algorithms do not bring to the top for the very reason that no-one is listening to them. It creates a cycle where the popular tracks get more popular, and the forgotten gems stay forgotten to everyone other than those who commit to plodding through the hundreds of un-featured songs available beneath the surface.
It is easy to observe this phenomenon in live performances. I can’t count the number of gigs that I have been to where the majority of the crowd is familiar with one or maybe two of the songs, and the rest are new to their ears. I would be lying if I claimed to not have been one of these people many times. From the 2014 Mobb Deep concert that I attended had a crowd that only got truly animated for the last song: ‘Shook Ones Pt. II’ to the 2018 Verge Collection gig that only started grooving for ‘Our Place’.
The scary thing is that this phenomenon actually also seems to be working retroactively: it shapes our taste in older artists as well. A 1970s listener would have been much more likely to have a deeper knowledge of Earth, Wind and Fire’s songs but nowadays your average streamer would be able to name ‘September’, ‘Boogie Wonderland’ and ‘Let’s Groove’.
2 - Music listening is broader
It also means that people listen to a greater number if unique artists. We have wider and more inclusive music consumption habits, and this is where ‘musical socialism’ comes in. More than ever, individuals and smaller off-label artists are able not only to release their music, but to actually be heard, even if it is only one or two of their songs.
Listeners are not only exposed to more artists, but streaming means that they actually listen to more. It is one thing for access to making music to be more equal (like we also saw with punk bands in the late 1970s, for example) but it is another thing for the consumption of music to be more equal. With these two factors, the modern musical landscape looks a lot more socialist than the oligopoly of the past.
3 - Music is more collective: it is more about the genre than the artist
Whereas in the past we saw big, seminal albums by bands like Queen or Nirvana, we now see movements of music made up of hundreds of small artists moving like schools of fish (from Vaporware and Synthwave, to more established electronic genres like Techno, House and Drum & Bass, for example). That is not to say that genre did not exist before, but just that it existed in a different format i.e. led by a number of major artists who more or less dictated the sound of that genre.
Collective listening is particularly salient in electronic music where a question like “who is your favourite house artist?” is sort of a silly question. It is like picking a favourite street in your favourite city: you don’t go there for that street in particular, you go there for the hundreds of streets that make up the whole city. What matters now is the collective movement, not star-studded individual acts.
What might this mean for the future?
It looks like if this trend continues we might see music progress in a more genre-oriented way with thousands of individual acts contributing to more creative and original sounds than would ever have been possible when music was being shaped by fewer, more popular artists.
Top-down listening (along with more accessible music-making technology) will actually insulate music tastes from being shaped by the whims of those artists at the top, and instead will come from the collective tastes of many, smaller music makers. Music genres will become like hives swarming with contributors that have the ability to project our collective cultural consciousness by pooling those tastes and preferences together. In this world of escalating individualism – music seems to be going in the opposite direction.
*The author was given a free CD of the new Courtney Barnett record and he then got so bored he wrote this entire piece before even finishing the album*.
Michael-James Dent AKA Outlaw Boogie has been busy writing his latest EP Five Years. He can also be found playing in various outfits across the capital such as Zooz, Hunck and Yoofs. So, it's a wonder how he has the time to do anything else. But for Third Outing - Michael-James has pulled out all of the stops by taking up his guitar and covering a genius band - Spacemen 3. Here's Walkin' With Jesus by Outlaw Boogie!
As usual we gave Outlaw Boogie a choice of three covers before asking him to choose one. Here's his big three followed by his feelings of the track. By the way, this is one of the best covers we've had to date:
I was very happy to have been given the opportunity to cover Walkin' With Jesus - not only are Spacemen 3 a favourite of mine - but it really allowed me to try something a bit different. A lot of the Outlaw Boogie material was written with an emphasis on the standard formulae of pop music, so to work on a song that is incredibly free formed and focused on creating a vibe was a real pleasure. I haven't stepped very far away from the original - which might seem a little safe - but I wanted to have fun creating this version and I definitely did!
Ever wondered what Bill Withers would sound like if he were making music right here right now? He'd be as smooth as ever. He'd ooze the same sunshine lyrics. He'd be dynamite. If Bill Withers was making music right here right now - he'd sound like New York City's very own Gyason. Who better to put the cover challenge to than the wonderfully intimate soft husk tones of Gyason Copeland?
As you will know by now we give each artist a choice of three covers before asking them why they chose to recreate the one they chose. Here are Gyason's three followed by his feeling on the track - enjoy:
I chose Affection because it was really calm. It sounds like something I should listen to on a cloudy day - it really stood out to me. I had heard of the band before but never heard this song. I liked the change of melody over the same chord progression throughout the song. Lastly, I thought that the vocal style was a good match for me. He has a very soft, almost whispering voice - that is usually my "go-to".
As we know - Jackson is a minimalist - a nostalgic being. It serves his music well and conveys his style perfectly. He's been pretty busy lately making music under his other project name Succulents - and will also be hitting the road in May on a grand tour of Canada with Mike Mikus. To celebrate, we asked Jackson to be the latest genius to recreate a number for our latest covers feature. We gave him three choices - he went for Alcooholiday by Teenage Fanclub.
(If you didn't read our first feature, we ask an artist to record a cover for us and find out what draws them to the song). For Jackson, we gave him the following tunes:
I had never heard this song before but I felt like it fit my 'vibe' more than the other tunes. It just has the sort of lazy, chilled out guitar strumming stuff going on that I can really get into. I think it's sort of a sad song. "Falling into line, but I'm doing nothing, we've got nothing worth discussing" and the title being Alcoholiday. I spent a lot of time driving around with it, thinking about the lyrics - it kind of reminds me of the feeling of going on a drug bender or something. Just like, going on vacation from your responsibilities and getting into the sauce.
He's the young lad from Hartlepool - a small town in the North East of England - who has just released his incredible debut 4 track EP Memory. Andrew Smith draws comparison to some of today's best Lo-Fi artists including Big Star and Bonny Doon. But in this, the first of a series of new cover features exclusive to Third Outing, we've challenged Smith to go head to head against one of music's greatest song writers of all time - Brian Eno. How does he level up - you decide?
We gave Smith 3 choices:
Read why Smith chooses Eno followed by his Third Outing exclusive cover of Eno's Baby's On Fire below:
I went with the Eno song because I thought it had a great melody. I think the centerpiece of the original is that really long Robert Fripp solo, but the vocal melody really appealed to me, and so I wanted to frame the song around that instead.